Icy offense: Clemson holds Georgia to 42 points

GREENVILLE – The covered up hockey ice wasn't the only thing cold during Georgia's 59-42 loss to Clemson at the Bi-Lo Center Wednesday night. Georgia's offense was at a season low with an icy 42 points.

The Bi-Lo Center's hockey surface was covered with hardwood for one night to pit the local rivals against one another. Cool temperatures were noticeable before the game because of the surface of the arena. The coolness during the game was Georgia's offensive production.

Squandering too many chances, and missing shots left and right, the Georgia offense struggled once more to score. This time they struggled without two of their top scorers Levi Stukes and Channing Toney, both out with injuries.

The end result was another Georgia loss – Georgia fell to 7-15 on the season while the Tigers improved to 12-12.

The game was not without Bulldog opportunities. "We spotted them points in the first half – we should have been leading going into the half," said Georgia head coach Dennis Felton.

In typical Georgia fashion, the Bulldogs twice went five-plus minutes in the game without scoring a field goal. Among other things, that was their undoing.

Georgia left the door wide open for the Tigers to take an eight-point lead going into the half when they went the final 5:22 of the first half without scoring a field goal. They only managed a free throw during that stretch. Meanwhile, Georgia continued its solid defensive effort as they often forced difficult shots for Clemson. The Tigers had their first half lead mainly as a result of Cliff Hamonds' precision shooting from three-point land.

Even down eight, Georgia had good reason to be optimistic about the second half. Saturday's game at Kentucky ended with a fierce comeback and good offensive production. That, coupled with the fact that Clemson has allowed all 11 of its ACC opponents to shoot 55% from the field in the second half this season, meant the game was certainly still in doubt.

In fact, things looked good for Georgia at the start of the half. They went on a 5-0 run to get within three of Clemson at 30-27, but that's as close as they would get.

It was like a replay of nearly every SEC loss for the Dawgs this season: Georgia's run was not quite enough to catch-up with the opposition – then the opposition would put the game out of reach with a run of their own.

After the Dawg run, Georgia surrendered a three-point basket and a Sharrod Ford lay-up to push the lead to ten. Felton called timeout and Georgia traded baskets with the Tigers for a few possessions. Then, with 8:53 left in the contest, Georgia went nearly seven minutes without points. Clemson used the Georgia drought to push their lead to 21 and the game was out of reach for Georgia. When the Bulldogs scored their 38th point only 2:20 remained in the game. Clemson had 57 points at the time.

Clemson may be allowing more than 50% from the field in the second half of ACC games, but they allowed the SEC's worst team to shoot only 27% from the floor in the second half of Wednesday night's contest.

"We missed a lot of opportunities to score and that made it difficult and that's why we scored only 42 points," said Felton.

Georgia shot only 3 of 11 in the paint in the second half and their 18 turnovers in the contest cost them 21 points on the other end of the floor. The totally outmanned Georgia bench was outscored by the Tigers 25-9.

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